Evidence of meeting #29 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was evasion.

A video is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Alain Deneault  Researcher, Réseau pour la Justice fiscale Québec
Michaël Lambert-Racine  Committee Researcher

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Yes.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

—because I have to go before the Liaison Committee at one o'clock.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

That's fine.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay, and then we'll agree to that next.

You have four budgets before you, all related to the pre-budget consultations.

Mr. Liepert.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Mr. Chairman, since we had the preliminary discussion a couple of weeks ago, I've been giving a fair bit of thought to what we have in front of us. I would like to make a case that we consider a slight alteration, but maybe some here would consider it to be more significant.

The reality of our committee, Mr. Chairman, is that we have one member on this committee from the three western provinces, and with all due respect, the Province of Prince Edward Island has as much representation on this committee as the three western provinces do. In fact, one could say it even has a little more, since the member from Prince Edward Island is the chair of the committee.

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Or co-chair. Or vice-chair, actually.

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

We also have five members who are within about a three iron from Pearson International Airport. I would like to propose that the committee consider spending one week in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan; one week in Manitoba and Ontario; and one week in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Certainly it would give a better representation of some of the issues that western Canadians are dealing with in these times, and probably would give committee members, many of whom are not as familiar with western Canada as I would like them to be, a better sense of some of the challenges we are facing.

I don't think it would significantly alter the budget, but it would change where I would like to see us divide our time.

Thank you.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

I might have missed the point, Ron. You said one week in B.C. on its own?

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

No, it would be B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

June 14th, 2016 / 12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Okay. B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan.... I actually think—and I'll go to Mr. Caron on this, as well—you're right. In terms of the numbers for the overall budget, at the end of the day, your proposal is not going to change the budget much.

I do want to say this before I go to you, Mr. Caron, because we do have a considerable problem as to whether or not we can travel, which might make this point moot.

I still believe very firmly that as a committee we need to propose what we believe would do the best service to Canadians in terms of hearing their views on pre-budget consultations, and I expect that means being in their regions and gaining a little understanding of those regions. Having been a witness before a committee myself, I know that you're much more comfortable in making your point of view in your own region.

I think we have an obligation to do this if we can, but we do have a letter from the chair of the subcommittee of the Liaison Committee, which is basically saying that at the moment the “potential requests” expected to come in represent about “145% of the global envelope for committee activities” for this fiscal year.

There's certainly pressure. I'll just read this line: “If travel is necessary, the committee should set out clear objectives for a potential trip and plan in advance to the greatest extent possible, including foreseeing all travel plans for a study...”. There's also emphasis in the letter on looking at video conferences as much as possible. That's the reality of what we're dealing with in terms of putting our budget proposal to the centre. The difficulty for the Liaison subcommittee on budgets is that the committee is allocated a budget, and we have to stay within that budget. That's the reality we're facing.

Having said that, we can put forward options if we so decide.

Mr. Caron and then Mr. Liepert.

12:30 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

That’s partly what I wanted to bring up. Should we be able to travel, which has not been determined, I would like to know if Mr. Liepert would agree not to forget northern Canada. Once again, should we be able to do this work, in the week set aside for British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, I would like the list to include the Yukon and Northwest Territories. For the week set aside for Manitoba and Ontario, we should also see if we can include Nunavut. That doesn’t require the committee to go there, but we could at least take these destinations into consideration during our discussions.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Mr. Liepert.

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

I've been looking through these budget documents. Are we basing the budget on seven members of the committee being at each one of these? I'm not sure that's required.

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Yes, one of the difficulties...and if anybody wants to comment here, please do.

Regardless of whether you have five members, say, or seven—seven seems to be the balancing point—there's usually a motion that no motions can be made when you're travelling anyway, so usually there aren't any partisan political games played with reference to motions when you travel. But we do need two analysts, one clerk, one logistics officer, three interpreters, and two proceedings and verification officers. So beyond your committee, Ron....

Is it the rules of Parliament or the negotiations with the staff unions or whatever...?

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

I'm not—

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

You have nine staff—

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

I'm not questioning the staff, Mr. Chair. I'm asking about the number of committee members, elected members, who would be at each one of these. It seems to me that seven is probably more than we need.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Chair, I was going to go the other way.

The added cost of taking the entire committee in this important round of pre-budget consultations, I would argue is a valid one. We're talking about the difference between seven MPs and ten MPs. The submissions here include all of the committee infrastructure in any event.

I, like Ron, don't question the staff requirements that are envisaged here, but the difference between having the entire committee and a portion of the committee, to me, it seems immaterial to the overall budget.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

In any event, there's been a motion passed at the Liaison Committee that the maximum number to travel with committees is seven. So that's a moot point on that one anymore.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

Would a motion be in order for these budgets then?

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Yes, a motion would be in order just to get the numbers.

We can discuss at another time in committee business exactly how we want to lay it out, but I would think, whether we decide to place more emphasis on the committee being in the west, or having more video conferencing here, or whatever we decide about the locations, we'd likely be looking basically at the same locations, but just with more time in one area or another, or not.

Is that correct?

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Steven MacKinnon Liberal Gatineau, QC

I don't think we have a problem with Mr. Liepert's suggestion.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Do we need three motions, Suzie, or one?

12:35 p.m.

The Clerk

Just adopt each budget.

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

This may impact what Ron was suggesting, but I think we can juggle this somewhat.

On the first motion, for our travel to St. John's, Fredericton, Charlottetown, and Halifax, are we agreed on the $84,963?

(Motion agreed to)

On Kelowna, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, are we agreed on the budget $89,138?

(Motion agreed to)

On the budget for Quebec City, Montreal, Windsor, Toronto, are we agreed on a budget for $67,225?

(Motion agreed to)

There is one more, and this is for the video conferencing meetings in Ottawa, etc., to do the study as well, for a budgeted amount of $37,500.

(Motion agreed to)

We'll add all of that up and present it to the Liaison Committee, and I expect we'll be back.

Okay, that's out of the way.

Phil, you have a motion.